Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference on Democrats’ Discharge Petition on the DREAM Act
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus and House Democrats gathered for a press conference as Democrats filed a discharge petition to force a vote on the bipartisan DREAM Act. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much Madam Chair [Michelle Lujan Grisham]. Thank you for your leadership. I just got a message that [Senator Susan] Collins is a ‘no’ on Graham-Cassidy. We have so many things going on here.
Thank you, Mr. Whip [Steny] Hoyer for orchestrating what’s going to happen on the floor this evening with the discharge petition. You’re a master at that.
Thank you [Congresswoman] Robin Kelly for enabling us to use the vehicle that was your bill – that was great. It will be the bill that originally introduced by Congresswoman [Lucille] Roybal-Allard, who I will yield to in a moment but now, as the discharge petition is put forth by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I join her in acknowledging the great work of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus and all of our Members.
Let me just say this because we have about seven more speakers and I want to associate myself with everything that has been said about our DREAMers and how important they are to our country and to their parents who gave us such wonderful children, this great resource as we go forward.
These kids with their families – with their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations – those are American ideals and they make America more American with all of that.
Just to add this – this is not, for us, an issue or a piece of legislation. It’s a value or an ethic. So when we say it’s the first issue – it’s so we share values. What does this mean to our country, what does this mean to us? That’s why we’re so pleased that it’s bipartisan and we hope that it will get bipartisan [support] signing up on the discharge petition and that we have so many signatures even before we have enough that perhaps the Speaker will give us a vote.
So that we can jointly come together, Democrats and Republicans, in shared values about our great country, America and that immigrants to our country have been the constant reinvigoration of America. Constantly, over time, and that is again a patriotic duty that everyone subscribes to.
We’re very pleased that the President has told Mr. Schumer and me that he would support it as we go forward, and we have to come up with some other aspects of it. This is a great moment for our country and I thank all who played such a major role in making this happen, but the person I’ve seen working on this for a long, long time [is the] Congresswoman from California who has been protecting our newcomers to our country in so many different ways and now does so as the top Democrat on the Homeland Security Subcommittee of Appropriations. The woman whose legislation this is, that will become the discharge petition: Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard.
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I just want to acknowledge that Michelle Lujan Grisham, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Congressman Luis Gutiérrez sent a letter for an extension of the time from October 5. And I spoke with the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security [Elaine Duke] today, endorsing that request and asking for a three month extension.
In their letter and in our calls – all of us weighing in on this – we’re talking about the fact that it was only one month that they gave to re-up – in other words when the President made his declaration it was until October 5 that you had to re-enroll [in the DACA program] and that’s just not enough time. Especially when you don’t have, shall we say, the outreach that would be necessary to do that.
And so, all over the country, we’ve been talking and listening to DREAMers about – extend the time, help with some of the resources – could you do $495 on a dime? That’s a lot of money for a young DREAMer to have to come up with. And then third of all, there’s some legal assistance that is needed so people fill out the forms correctly and the rest.
So we want them to be able to have the three months. I wish they could have the whole six months, but we’re asking for six months for them to do that and we would we could pass this bill by October 6 that would be a wonderful thing and we need that three month period for them to do that. We’ve made that official request to the Department of Homeland Security to give the DREAMers that additional time.
From the President’s announcement to one month later – [Hurricanes] Harvey, Irma, Maria, wildfire and the rest, in addition to the challenges of the bureaucracy between now and then.
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